On the morning of June 20th I had a massive stroke.
I remember feeling a bit “off” that day. I was driving the van down the road headed to a job and I remember my coworker asking if I needed him to drive. Then I remember being in a hospital emergency room hallway and my wife was there. I was in and out of consciousness and couldn’t move or talk. Then I was in a helicopter, then another hospital. It was there I finally came to enough to understand what was happening to me.
Latter I found out I had pulled the van over onto a side road and opened the door and when I went to get out I just collapsed and passed out. I was having trouble breathing and couldn’t move. My coworker called 911 and several city and county police arrived along with members of the fire department and they worked on me until the paramedics and the ambulance got there. I was rushed to Magnolia hospital on life support in Corinth Mississippi where my wife, my Mom and my best friend Jason rushed to be there as soon as they heard.
I came to once when a doctor was telling my wife that they needed to give me a shot to save my life. The shot could kill me though and I could bleed out so they would have to fly me to Memphis if they gave it to me. She was upset and crying but I couldn’t move or speak to tell her it was ok. I think I sorta remember seeing my Mom at some point too… They loaded me on the helicopter and headed to Memphis and my Mom went home and watched the kids while Jason rushed Em to Memphis to be by my side.
Next I came to myself on a helicopter, scared, on oxygen and having trouble breathing. I came two a total of three times on the flight, each time for only seconds.
At the Babtist Memorial hospital at Memphis I was rushed into ICU and had several tests done, most I only vaguely remember. I do remember going into a tube thing and the neurologist showing me a chart of my brain and pointing out two areas and saying I would have had zero chance of surviving the flight if I hadn’t had the shot.
They said anything I recovered, speech, movement and such, I would recover in six hours after the shot.
Six hours passed.
I still couldn’t talk. Couldn’t move my left side at all.
Then the next night about dark I was laying in bed and the tv was on. I wasn’t watching it really, just something on for a noise, and Em said it was too loud. And I said “turn it down”.
And about a full minute later we both looked at each other and started smiling! I had said it out loud! Weak, but I spoke! Then I couldn’t speak again. But it slowly started coming back over the next few days. I still have trouble, but it’s getting there. Against everything the experts said.
I laid in that hospital bed and watched my wife sleep in the floor of my room because there were no places for her in there and she wouldn’t leave my side. For two days she wouldn’t even leave the room to get anything to eat or drink because she wouldn’t leave my side. For two days I laid there watching her cry and hearing her tell my sister and whoever she was talking to on her phone how much she loved me and how she would give anything to hear me tell her I loved her one more time or to feel my arms around her one more time. I knew I was going to be a vegetable. I prayed to die.
But I didn’t die. And I started learning to talk again. Then I got some tiny bit of feeling in my left side, enough so that today I can walk with difficulty if I’m very careful and use my old fart cane she bought me.
I don’t know what our future holds. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to work again. I don’t know how we will pay our bills. I don’t know how I’ll support my family. I don’t know how I will get my beautiful wife to calm down and stop stressing and crying and stop worrying about everything. But I do know God wouldn’t bring me through all of this and not make a way for us to survive.
We have had to make some hard choices. We have gotten rid of a lot of the farm animals, cut back on others, had to ask for help from family and friends to get the garden in and the stuff done around the house. Neighbors have brought feed and hay, the kids are pitching in and doing so much to help. Em’s family came all the way from North Carolina to stay a week and help with the kids, give Em a break and get the yard work done. I’m blessed. We are blessed.
We are behind on every bill we owe, but they will get paid. The first round of bills from the stroke came in yesterday and already, after self-pay discounts I owe over $53,000.00 including $40,000.00 for a helicopter ride. I’m expecting well over $100,000.00 by the time it’s all said and done. It’ll take a while but they will get it a little each week I guess.
And with all that? If I didn’t think I’d go to hell for doing it and wasting the money I’d take the first few hundred bucks I could scrape up and buy my wife a pair of jeans that didn’t have the ass out of them, buy both of us a pair of shoes that didn’t have holes in the soles, and go take her somewhere nice to eat and spend a night or so somewhere quiet and romantic and let her know how much this dumb old farmer loves her and how proud he is to have a wife that loves him as much as she has proved she loves me.
I’m bent, but I’m not broken.
I’m down, but I’m not out.
I’m weak in body, but strong in spirit.
And I’m blessed beyond measure.
God is good. Life is good. Let those you love know you love them ’cause life is short.